Hormones can take a toll on your waistline. Women are especially prone to gaining weight during hormone surges, specifically during puberty, pregnancy and menopause. The increase in estrogen can affect your appetite, while your changing lifestyle adds to and compounds the problem.
Recognizing your weight gain is the result of changing hormones can allow you to pinpoint some of your triggers to create a weight loss plan. Talking to your doctor about your changing body can also help you find treatment options that allow you to lose weight successfully.
Step 1: Take Stock
Assess the changes taking place that have caused you to gain weight. While a surge of estrogen can cause your body's metabolism to slow and your appetite to change, you might have other common problems besides hormones causing slow weight loss and weight gain.
For instance, you may have been moving less because you're not feeling up to exercise or doing more binging on unhealthy foods. Identify what is holding you back other than hormonal issues so you can alter those things you control.
Step 2: Get More Exercise
Increase the amount of physical activity. The fatigue and lifestyle changes that often accompany unbalanced hormones could be holding you back. Getting more exercise can actually help you combat some of the side effects of hormonal changes.
A study published in a 2009 issue of "Maturitas: The European Menopause Journal" found that women who exercised had fewer and less severe menopausal symptoms than women who did not.
Step 3: Clean Up Your Diet
Eat a diet high in protein and fiber, which can help you feel full and temper an out-of-control appetite. If you tend to have frequent cravings, keep a food journal to detect patterns when you are more prone to snacking on chips, cookies and candies.
Then, pack healthier snacks so you are ready when the craving hits. Vegetables and hummus, low-fat cheese and apples and whole wheat crackers can help you feel satisfied while reducing your overall caloric intake.
Step 4: Find a Community
Team up with others experiencing the same problems. Having a support group can help you stay on track with your weight loss efforts, as well as commiserate about your changing bodies. Knowing you are not alone in the struggle can make you feel less isolated and embarrassed about your hormonal changes.
Step 5: Talk to Your Doctor
Schedule an appointment with your doctor to talk about various treatment options when your hormonal issues are disrupting your daily life and causing uncontrollable weight gain. She may suggest hormonal replacement therapy to bring your hormones into balance or suggest how to deal with your symptoms so you can exercise and eat more healthy.
- MayoClinic: Menopause Weight Gain: Stop the Middle Age Spread
- "Maturitos"; When, Why and for Whom There is a Relationship Between Physical Activity and Menopause Symptoms; Lisa M. McAndrew, et al.; August 2009
- "The Hormone Survival Guide for Perimenopause: Balance Your Hormones Naturally"; Nisha Jackson, Neal Rouzier; 2004